By Seth Daniel
It’s hard to forget a person who was such a pillar of the community like David Whelan, and it’s even harder to forget such a person when they’ve imprinted their innovative and enduring disco dance moves on about three-quarters of the Town.
That’s the spirit of what looks to be an exciting fundraising time at the Knights of Columbus on Friday, Sept. 15, when the Second Annual Disco for Dave event hits the dance floor. The event raises money for the scholarship foundation named after long-time community activist and Bunker Hill Associate David Whelan – who passed away in December 2015.
Tickets are $25 and the event runs from 7 p.m. to midnight.
“This is the second year of the scholarship and David believed strongly that education was the way to a better life,” said Kim Mahoney, vice president of the Associates and Whelan’s relative. “He was a light that shone bright in all of the Town. We want to keep that light shining brightly. What better way than with disco music on the dance floor of the Knights of Columbus – which was David’s second office. Anyone who was lucky enough to be on the dance floor with David was guaranteed a good time.”
Mahoney said they want to keep the event fun, as Whelan would have wanted it, so they have put a strong emphasis on the disco element. She said scores of wedding videos are a testament to how much Whelan liked to dance, and how he made everyone get out on the floor with his energy.
Mahoney remembered he was also competitive, and didn’t want anyone to show him up on the parquet.
“He was competitive and dancing at these events was a major thing for him,” laughed Mahoney. “He didn’t like being shown up. That’s why we have Disco for David. He loved disco music and he loved to dance. He would have been so happy to know we started this scholarship and we were all getting together at the Knights of Columbus for a dance party in his name…There’s no better way to honor his memory that it do it this way.”
But yet another honor to Whelan, who served the community in many capacities and was seen as a true bridge between the long-time residents and the new residents, is with the scholarship.
This year they will give out a $2,500 scholarship to a girl from Charlestown or with Charlestown ties, and they will give another $2,500 scholarship to a boy from Charlestown or with Charlestown ties. Students receiving the scholarship must already be in college in either their second, third or fourth year of undergraduate studies.
A new scholarship has also been added for advanced studies too, Mahoney said.
“This year we added a $1,000 advanced degree scholarship,” she said. “David went on to receive his Master’s Degree later in life, and he always told us education was the most important goals you could attain in life.”
Mahoney said one of the best ways to sum up Whelan was through words said at his funeral during the eulogy, which she delivered.
“I can see him now on the dance floor at the old Knights dancing to one of his favorite songs, ‘If My Friends Could See Me Now!’ – doing his signature move spinning through the circle of people,” she wrote. “He danced his way into the hearts of so many people…His personality lit up a room.”
That light will continue shining at the Knights Friday night as many will gather to remember him in dance and donation through Disco for David. Doors open at 7 p.m.